What you need to know about Governor Parson’s proposed prison budget

Prison fence

Governor Mike Parson’s proposed state budget of $30.5 billion includes $825 million to fund the Missouri Department of Corrections and the 21 prisons it operates. The plan is about a $44 million increase compared to the current fiscal year.

Parson wants to reduce the number of housing units within Missouri’s prison system. During a House subcommittee hearing, Department of Corrections Budget Director Trevor Foley says the proposal would close twelve housing units statewide.

“The Department is requesting a total of 1,756-bed reduction at six sites,” says Foley. “This has a savings of 131 FTE on an annual basis. At six-and-a-half million dollars that the department is then requesting to reinvest in a number of priorities.”

Priorities include upgrading the department’s employee phone system, security measures, officer radios, and protective vests for probation and parole workers.

Parson’s budget plan for the fiscal year beginning in July would slash a total of 137 job vacancies within the department.

“Similar to last year, the Department’s intention is there would be no staff layoffs,” says Foley. “Of the 131 FTE reduction, 128 positions at the same job class, at the same job site are vacant today. So, we will have over five months to attrite three, which we’re reasonably confident is doable.”

FTE stands for full-time employees.

The proposed Corrections budget would put an additional $211,000 towards covering staff overtime costs with the overall price tag being about $6.5 million. The governor wants to double the amount of retention pay for workers to an overall $18.2 million.

Parson is proposing $200.7 million for the Division of Offender Rehabilitative Services – a nearly $5.5 million dollar reduction over the current year. Substance misuse and recovery services would get an additional $118,000. Community-based corrections programs would get an extra $325,000.

Parson’s plan would give parole board operations a $1.7 million increase compared to the current amount of 0.

Lawmakers are reviewing Parson’s state budget blueprint for the fiscal year that begins in July. Legislative budget hearings continue next week.